The Game Boy turned 25 years old today. I thought I’d take some time to share some thoughts and memories about the best mobile gaming device.
I loved my Game Boy. I probably didn’t receive mine until maybe 1990 or 1991. When I was a child it seemed like everything took forever so it could have been the same year it came out. I received mine for Christmas, complete with an AC adapter and Tetris and the less than stellar Yoshi. I enjoyed Tetris to a degree, but since I wasn’t nearly as skilled as I am now it wasn’t fun to play. The first great game I remember playing for the Game Boy was Super Mario Land 2: The Golden Coins. It was a great Mario platformer that let you turn into a bunny with flapping ears! It also introduced Wario for the first time, and he wasn’t nearly as comical as he is today.
I remember before owning my Game Boy some boy in fourth grade had one, and I distinctly remember playing a game where you were a spaceship that had to form rectangles. It’s as exciting as it sounds. I would later discover the name of that game after years of search was Quarth.
The Game Boy was around all the way into High School. I remember lending my girlfriend at the time my Game Boy pocket which she promptly broke. But she replaced it. I was distraught until she did. I remember absolutely loving Wario Land, and Wario Land II for their shear oddity, and developing Wario into the weird (very weird) character he is today.
I remember getting Pokémon, and discovering that I wanted, no, I needed to “Catch ’Em All”.
The Game Boy was always there for those long band bus trips. I have a vivid memory of playing two player Tetris on a bus in Northeast Ohio during autumn. I always can remember where I was when playing certain games. It’s a uncannily tied to my memories.
The Game Boy Camera (and Printer) was my first foray into digital photography in all its 1-bit glory which planted the seeds for my other non-gaming hobby.
I have more wonderful memories about Game Boy games than I do for the NES. The thing was wherever I was. It was always a more intimate experience as I didn’t have to share the TV when I played Link’s Awakening discovering Koholint, or spending hours trying to find the legendary Pokémon.
Over the years I’ve heard people say they aren’t interested in handheld games, but today people play all kinds of crappy games on their phones (ripe with microtransactions). Nintendo is still creating great experiences on their handhelds that you can’t find on consoles (Luigi’s Mansion, Pushmo, Fire Emblem Awakening, etc.). There is something for everyone.
So here’s to the one, the only , the original Game Boy. Thanks for all the memories, and thanks for always being there for me.